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  #21  
Old 09-20-2013, 05:22 AM
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Well to claim the kids on your guys' return isn't as straight forward as you think. There are 7 tests that need to be met. And in those tests she could also be claimed as your dependent. I can't say yes or no if it's possible without more information (tax accounting is my career). You could pm me and we could go over all the facts.
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  #22  
Old 09-20-2013, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by alibabe_muse View Post
Well to claim the kids on your guys' return isn't as straight forward as you think. There are 7 tests that need to be met. And in those tests she could also be claimed as your dependent. I can't say yes or no if it's possible without more information (tax accounting is my career). You could pm me and we could go over all the facts.
That would be great to know before hand. We have been taking care of the kids all of this year (my hubby and I) financially, don't know if that will help. But yes, I can pm you.
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  #23  
Old 09-20-2013, 12:18 PM
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This situation is so complicated.

You and your husband want a triad. (Defined as all 3 people loving, lusting for, touching and fucking each other equally.) From what you're saying here, if not his ex-wife, some other hot bi babe will do. First off, this is a red flag. Do a tag search here on unicorns and triads. Trying to force a triad almost never works. You all have the classic signs of a failed triad. It's kind of shocking that your h has to force himself to "go in unto her" as the Bible says. And she has sadly low self esteem if she is willing to put up with getting a few reluctant crumbs of his affection a few times a year.

Shes a former Fundamentalist Mormon? Raised in one of those communities where older men marry multiple teen girls and start breeding them right away? No wonder she has a "chemical imbalance." Did she run away from that sect? Is her mom still in it?

If she has that background, no wonder she's messed up. No wonder she will put up with sex once every 5-11 weeks, and reluctant sex at that. Yikes. Her expectations for a MF relationship must be very low.

You know that having your husband away for a month or 3 , with only one week home in between trips, is highly unusual. Yet, he's doing it and trying to maintain a relationship with 2 wives at home. I don't know when you'd even have time for him to do any counseling with you or her... once a week is ideal. Once every month or 3 probably wouldn't do much good.

And if he makes his ex feel really uncomfortable (how can she stand being told that if you leave, she does, etc?) and she does move out, you and your h think you will find a unicorn willing and able to live with you and only see the guy once every 5-11 weeks?

Is she aware he avoids being with her even as infrequently as he is? Can she see he is sitting up late with you to avoid going into her bedroom to fuck her? Yuck.

You can't force a triad to work. You seem to want to make him love her again, desire her again. I don't see this working. If I were him I'd spend the $ and move her to a house nearby. You and she get along, great. You can go to her place, have her come over, the kids can see each other a lot, but she's got her own place and no one is forcing themselves to have sex with her when he comes home every month or three.

By the way, is your husband celibate for those 5-11 weeks he is away from you?
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Last edited by Magdlyn; 09-20-2013 at 12:22 PM.
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  #24  
Old 09-20-2013, 06:10 PM
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He has no choice but to be away from home for that length of time, it's his job. He has been trying to get them to let him come home every 3 weeks or at least to give him an extra week off for every 3 weeks he works....no luck so far. He DOES usually, on good days, get to come home every 4 or 5 weeks.

I can handle his being gone for 3 to 9 weeks, but past 3 months I can't do. My grandpa was a truck driver and my uncle is a driver so I'm used to the long hours and weeks away from home.


Yes, he is celibate out there. I'm on the phone with him frequently, besides he works 16 to 18 hours a day and sometimes 20 hours a day. He has no energy for anything except to fall into bed and sleep for whatever little sleep he can get.

We've talked about that, her getting a place nearby, but she wants to stay at the house with me. We've told her that she can if she wants to she does not have to stay if she doesn't want, but she insists she wants to be with me in the same house.

She came from the Mormon that had multiple wives, not so sure about the younger girls with older men thing.

I guess that's possibly a little of why he does the bare minimum to keep her around. He wants me to be able to have a relationship I want with a female. He knows it's hard to find those who are able to deal with his being gone so much, and she deals with it as well as I do. So he is able to be a part of the triad as well with her here and she is willing to be with both.

Yes, I know this situation is complicated. That's why I ask for advice to hopefully get it smoothed out so it will be waaayyyyy less complicated. I know we can have a successful poly relat or even a triad, as long as we are able to find the right person who is willing to be a part of it. (We both have same tastes in women).

I have been a part of triads as the secondary. I was the one to leave both because I wanted to be in different places(I was young, wanted to see the world and traveled a lot, you know how it goes), my feelings for the people were not sufficient enough for me to stay and lead them on, so I left so that feelings would not be hurt worse than they were with my choosing to leave. They were not bad experiences, but not for me at a time in my life where I was unable to sit still in one place for long.


Hell, I never wanted to settle down and get married...then I met my husband lol. He shares a lot of my opinions, beliefs, and openness to try different things that others consider "taboo" or just wont do. He communicates with me like no one else ever has and we are equal on the same wavelengths and same page so to speak, and he is able to fulfill my hunger for intellectual stimulation. This is rare to find in someone, especially to find someone who understands me so well. So, lo-and-behold, I ended up changing my mind about marriage and losing my fear of commitment.
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  #25  
Old 09-21-2013, 01:31 AM
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I'm curious so I hope it's okay if I ask, what type of work does your husband do? Is he a trucker (18-wheeler type)?

Magdlyn does make some good points and I think the one that sticks with me most is how difficult his work schedule is. Heck, even if he was single with nothing to do at home. 16-20 hours a day with no days off for 3-9 weeks? I'm surprised he doesn't just sleep for the whole week he has off. I guess that does make counseling tough to benefit from, heck it makes it hard for him to maintain (let alone improve) any relationships at all by any means, and yet he's (essentially) got two wives to husband and five kids to father. I guess it's no wonder he doesn't bother putting much work into improving things with his ex. All his energy is pouring into his work. Even his emotional energy must be a sorely depleted.

It seems to me that the main thing you'd like to see improved is that you'd like him to have more desire for his ex, also for the whole family to be happier but for that we need the specifics of what's making everyone unhappy. I sense unhappiness coming from his ex because she'd like him to desire her more, and I sense unhappiness coming from him because to him it's a hassle to have any romantic (or even platonic?) relationship with her at all. And maybe you're (somewhat) unhappy because you see that dynamic between him and her and it disappoints you that they're not happier. (Are the kids happy enough in your opinion?)

As I said, the main problem seems to boil down to the unease in the relationship between your husband and his ex. We have determined that her chemistry needs medication (for her emotional well-being and so she can be nice to her loved ones), and she is now on medication. How helpful is the medication so far? Does it need any tinkering (with perscription type and dosage)? Is she doing better for her kids? Is she doing better for your husband? Are these improvements sufficient to make the kids happy? Are they sufficient to put your husband's trust issues on the mend? Is everyone's happiness improved enough to grant you contentment? If not, is it continuing to improve?

Is there anything amiss besides her chemistry/medication issues? Are there specific things she ever did to wound your husband that she could make right? Do the children need any specific kind of restitution from her?

We can certainly advise you on this thread; I believe we have, and I believe we'll continue to do so as long as you still desire some added advice from us. Let's just say that the more specific information we have, the better (and more helpful) our advice can become. Which is why I ask the questions I ask, and in general I encourage you to share as much information as you feel you can, even if it means lengthy posts and you feel like it's overshare. You never know when some detail on your end could germinate an idea on our end. Plus just talking about the problems may give you some more ideas.

I have to perceive your situation as challenging to say the least, but that doesn't mean I think you should just throw up your hands and quit. Some situations that would suck for one person work just fine for another person. I guess my objective is to see you get to a place where you feel contented with your family relationships and where they're headed. If by any means that can be accomplished, then let's put our heads together and figure out how to do it.

Just as an aside, how well are you and "the ex" getting along? Are the two of you happy/contented with each other at least? If not, what needs to improve?

It sounds to me like on average, both of you are okay with your husband's long absences. (Are the kids also okay with it?) If so, then I'll not even worry about it. Is the hard work schedule doing him under? Is he frustrated with the family time it costs him? Does he need a job/career change for his own sake, or can he (continue to) cope with it? I know he's tried to get off once every three weeks, but for now let's assume that'll never happen and confirm that everyone in the family can at least live with it. I know you said you've found it to be a bit much lately. Do you think things will settle back to a 4-5 week work block soon? Do you need your husband to seek a new line of work?

Bottom line: what's the minimum of things that need to improve before everyone in your family can be satisfactorily happy? Let's draw up a description of that (perhaps in list format), and go from there.
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  #26  
Old 09-21-2013, 05:07 AM
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I'm curious so I hope it's okay if I ask, what type of work does your husband do? Is he a trucker (18-wheeler type)?
Kevin,

I don't mind questions, feel free to ask them. If they can help with gaining insight for advice and help me to gain insight by reading over and seeing different ideas, then by all means I am for it. My ultimate goal is to make this a successful triad. I will do my utmost best to answer every question you may have.

My hubby works in the oilfields of North Dakota. Which is over 1800 miles away. He does drive 18 wheelers, but also drives other trucks for delivery to different well sites. Sand, water, oil, etc...He also has a part time job out there hauling acid for a company for his times he is unable to come home, but needs something to do of the downtime (such as days they have their 24 hour restarts). Yes, he does put a lot of energy into work, but he does it because he feels it is his duty as a man to provide for and take care of his family and make sure all gets anything they want or need. So, he tends to overly spoil us lol. Just the way he is.

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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Magdlyn does make some good points and I think the one that sticks with me most is how difficult his work schedule is. Heck, even if he was single with nothing to do at home. 16-20 hours a day with no days off for 3-9 weeks? I'm surprised he doesn't just sleep for the whole week he has off. I guess that does make counseling tough to benefit from, heck it makes it hard for him to maintain (let alone improve) any relationships at all by any means, and yet he's (essentially) got two wives to husband and five kids to father. I guess it's no wonder he doesn't bother putting much work into improving things with his ex. All his energy is pouring into his work. Even his emotional energy must be a sorely depleted.
He puts a lot of effort towards his and my relationship and efforts to ensure we communicate on all levels and efforts when he is home to ensure he and I have a strong relationship and bond. (Hence why I get confused why he doesn't extend more energy towards doing a little more towards her). He does attempt to TRY to keep things even between her and I when it comes to him, for example when he takes me on a cruise he also does the same for her (but he says it is so she won't have a blow out over it if he doesn't do the same for her). And we do rotate nights with alone time and sleeping arrangements. Though I must say I am the biggest part in trying to make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly....it just doesn't always work out that way lol. Mainly due to his own actions, as should be obvious from posts.

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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post

It seems to me that the main thing you'd like to see improved is that you'd like him to have more desire for his ex, also for the whole family to be happier but for that we need the specifics of what's making everyone unhappy. I sense unhappiness coming from his ex because she'd like him to desire her more, and I sense unhappiness coming from him because to him it's a hassle to have any romantic (or even platonic?) relationship with her at all. And maybe you're (somewhat) unhappy because you see that dynamic between him and her and it disappoints you that they're not happier. (Are the kids happy enough in your opinion?)
You are right with the unhappiness from her due to wanting him to desire her more, unhappiness from him because it is a hassle to deal with her, and from me because I see the dynamics between them and it does bother me. I think I had this image in my head when we all 3 finally went from "POSSIBILITY" to actuality, that it would be no different than building a relationship otherwise, such as it was between him and I, and so on. Like, I had an image in my head that it would be all happy, happy, rainbows with the usual bickers or small hardships thrown in which are normal. A happy, functional family unit. I was not expecting this stuff.

The kids are happy enough as I can see. They have been doing much, much, better since she has been on her medications and has not flipped out on them and everyone else nearly as much.

They have not thrown the outrageous temper tantrums they used to out there when it was just her and them. They have not threatened to beat her to a pulp with cast iron skillets or to run away. Since being here they have gained respect and actually say "yes, ma'am" and so on. At the beginning I had to come down hard on them to not disrespect their mom as they were doing because when they were first here they would lash out at her and hit, kick, scream, bite, and everything at her whenever she would try to get onto them or tell them "no" or anything they did not like...that is not okay with me. They have never treated me or their dad that way and only her...Since then there have been no more issues with that because I always stress the whole respect for people thing. Oh, man, it was horrid! I have never seen kids disrespect their moms to that extent. So, yes, as magdlyn asked in a previous post about her being an ineffectual mom whereas I am better, I will let you ponder that one when you read over what I just stated above lol.

They do chores now, homework, and all without complaining. They asked her at one time "how come you never let us have dessert after dinner when we were out there, but we can have it here?" so, yep. Kids are happier.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:09 AM
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As I said, the main problem seems to boil down to the unease in the relationship between your husband and his ex. We have determined that her chemistry needs medication (for her emotional well-being and so she can be nice to her loved ones), and she is now on medication. How helpful is the medication so far? Does it need any tinkering (with perscription type and dosage)? Is she doing better for her kids? Is she doing better for your husband? Are these improvements sufficient to make the kids happy? Are they sufficient to put your husband's trust issues on the mend? Is everyone's happiness improved enough to grant you contentment? If not, is it continuing to improve?
We have gotten her meds tweaked and she has done significantly better. She still has issues with getting "twitchy" as she calls it....where she gets on the verge of feeling like she is going to have an explosion. Usually she does great until the kids come home from school and then she gets on edge, but the meds keep her from having an actual explosion. She does try to do better for the kids and does sit with them t help with homework, but she can only handle it for brief spurts of time. Doing better for my husband, somewhat. She says that he for some reason triggers her explosions when he is around. No one else has ever quite triggered her that way, but she says that her dad was like that because he has the disorder too. So even when my hubby is doing nothing wrong she explodes on him...If she is missing time with me, she explodes on him and finds anything and everything she can to fuss at him for doing or not doing or anything. Like when he was home a few weeks ago (he and I both smoke) she exploded on him for going outside to smoke and sitting with me while smoking, then for talking to me while he was in bathroom (something he and I have done since day 1), then for something he did 8 years ago (not taking her to a party to a friends house even though she didn't want to go), then from there to whatever the hell else she came up with......He has stated that she makes it hard to even want to try to work things out with her. I can understand that because there are quite a few times I have had to step in and defend him because he was doing nothing wrong at all and she went off on him.

An example, one night he was telling me about her interest in trying to start a tie-dye business and beading business because she loves that stuff.....she has told me the exact same thing a few days prior....he was telling me about it so we could figure out something nice to do for her that would incorporate her hobby and dreams into something. She went off on him for telling me anything they talked about in private....but it wasn't private and she had just told me about it a few days prior...he and I were just trying to take it to do something nice for her. but in her head he "broke her trust" by talking to me about something that was a private convo between those two about her interest in the business.

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Is there anything amiss besides her chemistry/medication issues? Are there specific things she ever did to wound your husband that she could make right? Do the children need any specific kind of restitution from her?
Well, let's see.... specific things she has done to my hubby to make him reluctant to trust her....
She had a fling with her boss but claimed that she never had sex with him....yet she got pregnant with her and my hubby's daughter like a week before they met back up together for their time off (he worked in a different town than she did). So, according to my hubby's family they are not sure their daughter is his and he even questioned it at one point because he was going to get dna test when filing for divorce, until he decided it would be best to not know because she was his regardless of blood...so we are still not sure if she is his or not....

she has taken off on him 3 times with no warnings and took the kids and some of his stuff he bought.

The final time she left she claimed he abused her and sought shelter at a women's shelter and so on....she got proven that was bullshit in court because she lived with his mom and he was working in another town and was at work when the abuse supposedly took place.
(I can vouch that he is not abusive at all because he has never done anything even slightly abusive. He actually finds people who abuse are despicable people.) So, she has lied about him and his character.

One time she left she waited til he went to work and made him think everything was great before she left...then just left out of the blue with the kids again.

This last time she left, she took off and could not be located for more than a year. I think it was 3 years before he got to see his kids again. She even filled their heads with lies about him. When they got to have visitation with us (she finally let them) they saw for their selves she was full of crap and this fueled their rage and resentment towards her even more.

Oh, and the whole 5 years they were together she treated him like crap, wasn't on meds so she always was exploding on him for anything she could cook up...so yeah easy to see why he is reluctant.
He has told me this stuff, his family has seen it and told me, and she has even admitted to all this stuff herself when talking to me about it.
Except, she still maintains she had not slept with her boss just went out to dinner with him a couple of times.
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:09 AM
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We can certainly advise you on this thread; I believe we have, and I believe we'll continue to do so as long as you still desire some added advice from us. Let's just say that the more specific information we have, the better (and more helpful) our advice can become. Which is why I ask the questions I ask, and in general I encourage you to share as much information as you feel you can, even if it means lengthy posts and you feel like it's overshare. You never know when some detail on your end could germinate an idea on our end. Plus just talking about the problems may give you some more ideas.

I have to perceive your situation as challenging to say the least, but that doesn't mean I think you should just throw up your hands and quit. Some situations that would suck for one person work just fine for another person. I guess my objective is to see you get to a place where you feel contented with your family relationships and where they're headed. If by any means that can be accomplished, then let's put our heads together and figure out how to do it.

Just as an aside, how well are you and "the ex" getting along? Are the two of you happy/contented with each other at least? If not, what needs to improve?

It sounds to me like on average, both of you are okay with your husband's long absences. (Are the kids also okay with it?) If so, then I'll not even worry about it. Is the hard work schedule doing him under? Is he frustrated with the family time it costs him? Does he need a job/career change for his own sake, or can he (continue to) cope with it? I know he's tried to get off once every three weeks, but for now let's assume that'll never happen and confirm that everyone in the family can at least live with it. I know you said you've found it to be a bit much lately. Do you think things will settle back to a 4-5 week work block soon? Do you need your husband to seek a new line of work?

Bottom line: what's the minimum of things that need to improve before everyone in your family can be satisfactorily happy? Let's draw up a description of that (perhaps in list format), and go from there.
She and I get along fabulously. We don't bicker or argue, except when I'm having to defend my hubby when he is here because of her irrational explosions at him. She and I communicate about everything and I feel happy and satisfied with her.

The absences are okay and not an issue....we got news tonight that they are working hard to ensure he will be able to come home every 3 - 4 weeks!!!! He has fussed enough about it that HOPEFULLY they will stick with doing it!

*does happy dance* He is overly excited about it too because he says he misses me and being away from home so badly that it is hard sometimes for him. Let's see how it goes. I told him they better stick to their promise because if not they will have an irate wife calling to cuss them out lol. He's like "See, that's why I love you. You always have my back, always there for me, and always support me no matter what or how stupid it is. Even when you tell me it is stupid you still support me and let me make mistakes. That's what a wife is supposed to be." <3 awwww<3 lol.

He is actually trying to get our business up and going so he can be home more. We've been talking about having our own business for over 3 years now and are just now getting opportunities to make it happen.


Things that need to happen for it to improve:

They need to be able to communicate enough or well enough so that they can sit down and get to the root of their issues in order to resolve them...even if I have to mediate.

Even if he can't forget he can maybe forgive some stuff so that he can stand to be around her even if he cant ever trust her 100% again (I don't blame him for not being willing to trust her 100% ever again..she screwed him over so much and so badly).

He needs to realize she feels bad for the stuff and is willing to change hence why she has taken meds to get sorted out.

She needs to apologize to him for the stuff

She needs to stop finding anything and everything she can attack him about and just treat him with respect.

If she has issues with some envy, jealousy, or whatever emotions she is dealing with then sit and talk it out rationally. She can do that with me alone just fine, but not when he is around because she flips out and becomes irrational. VERY VERY VERY frustrating. gah! Especially when I know she is perfectly capable of being able to communicate in a rational manner.

He needs to acknowledge her thoughts, ideas, or feelings as much as he does with mine.

If we can get to the root of whatever the issues are with them I know it can be a happy thing between all to where we can all sit and communicate and work together on important things.

There has been 2 occasions where the 3 of us got to sit down together and come up with opinions, ideas, and such for whatever situation that needed input for solving. and 1 occasion where the 3 of us was able to sit together and talk, laugh, joke, and relax and enjoy being around one another.

So, I know it can happen just it is so rare that it baffles me lol.


Thank you all so so so so much for the different input and views and advice. It means so much to me that people genuinely want to help and work together to solve something that can be good.

This is the communication and working together that I want to see in this relationship we have. That is my ideal. My hubby and I do it together.... she and I do it together.....the 3 together, not so much because those 2 keep it from happening enough to count. :-(

I guess cause I am so big on communication on all levels for anything to work fluidly; which is why my hubby and I are so closely bonded we are inseparable. He is just as big on communication as I am and I know he has tried on numerous occasions to get that to happen but the explosions from her caused him to give up I guess?

He has told her at one time that her always attacking him to bitch at him makes it hard for him to have any feelings towards her.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:56 AM
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Ah, I think I have a better picture of what all's going down for you guys and how it's like on a day-to-day basis. I appreciate the time you spent to write those posts, my questions were answered generously and I think that helps us both.

Re:
Quote:
"My hubby works in the oilfields of North Dakota."
Whew ... rough gig. Especially in the Winter.

I feel quite a bit more certain by now that the important problems remaining in your family are the ones between your husband and his ex. It sounds like all of the other problems have either been satisfactorily mended, or are on their way towards mending and looking hopeful.

In addition to the deep distrust that has grown in your husband towards his ex, there is also some mysterious force at work between the two of them that causes them to push each other's buttons. Something about the nuances of their personalities that just doesn't mesh well. That's one thing that would be worth digging into and gaining a closer look at. Who knows, there might be little things they could both do to reduce the button-pushing factor.

You mentioned that the three of you have been able to sit down together a few times and talk about things. That's a good sign. If it could be done, I would actually try to do a sit-down each time your husband is home for a week. Like, establish it as a formal habit. A standing agreement between the three of you. That would mean your husband and his ex would have to agree to it, and you can't decide for them that they'll agree. But I'd suggest the idea to them, and encourage it when you can. Each and every sit-down is an opportunity to practice communicating, as well as investigating the sources of friction and perhaps discovering new insights about the joint relationship.

Of course you don't want to do a sit-down during one of her blow-ups, you want to look for an occasion where everyone is calm and things are going relatively well. If you're willing and able to be a mediator for the other two that's fine; let's work on getting them communicating fruitfully on that level first, and then maybe eventually they can practice talking to each other directly a little at a time. Certain rules should be in place: obvious things like no interrupting, take turns so everyone has a fair chance to talk, no raised voices, no name-calling, etc. ... and some things that are more subtle, such as not trying to assign blame (to self or others), taking ownership for one's own feelings, making efforts to put oneself in the other's shoes, repeating back what the other person said so they know you understand and are listening, etc.

All these rules come naturally when it's just you and the ex talking together, or just you and husband talking together. It's when all three of you sit down together that such rules must be especially kept in mind and formally agreed to.

Not that everyone's going to abide by the rules perfectly all the time by any means; there will probably be many slip-and-falls, especially in the earlier conversations you guys have. So it's important to be patient and persistent in picking yourselves up and dusting yourselves off. If things get too heated, maybe take a break, but come back together and try again.

Keep a list of the rules the three of you feel you should follow (including perhaps a time frame for the sit-down, e.g. an hour might be all you can emotionally stand at first), and perhaps make three copies of the list so you're all looking at it while you talk. In addition, each of you could prepare for the "monthly sit-down" by writing your own personal list of wants, needs, and/or concerns you want to talk about during the next session.

Sometime when it's just you and your husband talking, when things are going pretty well, I'd consider sitting down with him and having a heart-to-heart about where his intentions and commitments lie. Is he putting up with the ex just to hang on to the kids? Is he willing to try to mend things with her if she's willing to make improvements? If not for her or his own sake, would he be willing to try for your sake, and at your request? You might share with him (in a non-accusing way) the vision you have for your triad, and how much it would mean to you if he could help you attain that vision. I suppose a similar conversation might be a good idea between you and her too, sometime when you have a good chance.

Another thing to discuss just you and your husband, is the disabilities of his ex. Yes, disabilities, and not just of the chemical kind either. There is something broken inside her mind, something that makes her lose her grip with rationality. I'm sure he'll agree with that, but the challenge for him is to try to imagine what it must be like to be her, to be angry and stressed out much (most?) of the time, to be pushed to the very edge of her failing ability to hold it together and stay rational and calm. I doubt these things make her feel happy inside, and I have a feeling she doesn't choose them; she doesn't think, "I'm going to be a crazy insane bitch today, and make the man of my life as miserable as possible."

It is my theory that it's a vicious cycle when she can see herself losing control, and can't do a thing about it; it just makes her madder and crazier and more stressed out than ever. If she really reaches down, she probably feels ashamed of her outbursts, and wishes she could make them stop happening. Instead, she just goes on hurting the man that she loves, and that's got to leave her feeling guilty, miserable, defensive, and unhappy. The point is, she has a tougher life to live than it may seem to the uninitiated or on the outside. She is not as strong as your husband is. She wouldn't last five minutes out in the North Dakota cold. But she is probably trying as hard as she can to be a better person (when she's not too discouraged or freaked out to try).

She can probably easily imagine (and I'd prompt her to do so, in private between just you and her) how it would feel to be her ex. Working harsh conditions for a month at a time away from home, missing his family, only to finally have a week off and instead of kind, appreciative treatment from his ex, he has to dread more of her outbursts, more of her searing anger towards him, of her never forgiving his sins (or even misunderstandings) of the past, of, in a word, her turning into a porcupine in his presence so that he can't even get near her. She needs to try to imagine how much she hurts his feelings. Always pointing out his faults, never his good features. Maybe on some level he misses the happiness (and there must have been some, long ago) he once had with her, and would like that back, but just feels like it's impossible and could never happen.

The point is, encourage each of them to try, as hard as it is, to put themselves in each other's shoes. If they can even do that a little, it might help prepare them to work with you as a mediator and have those monthly sit-downs. (Weekly sit-downs, if your husband's future schedule ever allows for it!)

[continued below]
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:57 AM
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[continued from above]

I reckon that most of her kids' problems stemmed from their mother's example. They learned from her that it is okay to throw a crazy fit for no reason. Your teachings gave them a different example, and, now they have seen adults getting along together without the outbursts, so they know it's possible, and they can see that it's worth it -- more worth it than any tantrum. They're now choosing the better example, so good for them.

I think it may be that it is (a lot?) harder to reason with her during a tantrum. As hard as it is, you and your husband both might want to say, "I see that you are very upset right now. Let's talk about this again when you're feeling calmer." And then, look for ways to disengage from her and leave her alone for a "time out." When she's ready to be reasoned with, then you come to her (hubby doesn't have to just yet), hear her out as she vents to you about what was upsetting her, sympathize with words such as, "I can see why that would hurt you," and then when she's calmed down a little more, gently say, "You know that you were taking things to far in how dramatic your reaction was, right?" If she agrees, you then have an opening to say, "Would you be willing to offer our husband an apology? After that, the three of us can sit down and talk about what we can all do differently in the future."

The idea here is that whenever she throws a fit, don't just put out the fire and then say, "Whew, I hope that doesn't happen again soon." Instead, make a point to re-engage her as soon as she has calmed down, and reason with her. Try to get her to put herself in hubby's shoes, and feel the hurt that her fit caused him. Try to get her to remember what really set her off, and to say to your husband, "I still need us to talk about this thing that made me upset, but I apologize for turning it into an attack." Something to that effect.

Lurking under all that anger may be some legitimate concerns, but they get flooded out of the picture when she tries to address them by exploding. She needs to know that she can have legitimate concerns that deserve to be heard, without thinking that fit-throwing is a healthy or even effective way to express them. She knows this during her calm moments. Try to use those calm moments to negotiate an apology from her. The reward for the apology is that the three of you then talk (calmly) about what was setting her off, so that she will feel like she can be heard and understood without pitching a fit.

You may need to prep hubby, too, before the three of you sit down to hear her apology, to encourage him to forgive and reciprocate any improvement in her behavior. No saying, "You're sorry? You should be sorry!" Just expressions of appreciation for the fact that she's trying. Remind him that it's harder to be her than it seems, that she struggles against stress and buried panic much (most?) of the time and that the struggle does her in at times. For some reason, she uses your husband as a punching bag when she can't take it anymore, and that's not okay. But we can still feel bad for her, imagine how unhappy she must so often feel, and try our best to thank her for even the littlest (what looks "little" to us) efforts.

Re: the tie-dye business ... she thought it was private in an almost sacred way. You didn't see how it was private because she had already talked to you about it. I tend to agree that your perception was the more accurate, but once she has calmed down, you need to approach her gently, and see her side as much as possible, even if her side is skewed. It would help if your husband could say to her, "I didn't realize that you didn't want me to talk about the tie-dye business, but I see now that you trusted me to let you tell Lynn about it in your own way and time. I didn't mean to hurt or betray you, and I'm sorry if I did. Can the three of us sit down sometime and talk about ways to make the tie-dye business a reality? That would mean a lot to me." Yes; she needs to learn to apologize to your husband, and he needs to learn to apologize to her too. Even if it seems like she doesn't deserve an apology. She probably still needs it.

Your husband also needs bigger apologies from her, for the really big things she has done that hurt him in a big (and long-lasting) way. Sadly, it may take her a lot of practice at apologizing for "little things" before she's ready to apologize for the really big things. This is going to be a slow process. She and he both need to learn to put themselves in each other's shoes, to get better at doing so, and to do it often. I have a feeling they're not going to get there quickly or easily. Your husband probably feels like it's not worth the bother to try at all, because hey, she'll never treat him better anyway, right? It's going to take him some time to build up enough faith in her to try a little for her.

Re: the fling with her boss ... this sucks, but I'd try to let that one go. First of all, if even in her calm moments she won't admit to more than a few dinners, then there's no solid ground you can use for discussing it further. You'd have to get that DNA test, and you've kind of decided not to. You've kind of decided it doesn't matter too much who the biological father is; your husband is her daughter's father at heart. To me this suggests that it doesn't matter too much whether she had that affair either. After all these years, it's water under the bridge, and her boss is long since out of the picture anyway.

I would try to forgive and let that one go, with or without an apology. That means encouraging your husband to forgive and let it go too. It's too a heavy grudge to bear, it's like carrying a big rock around. It seems to me that if your husband could drop the DNA testing, he could probably drop that rock as well. I mean since we don't know who fathered the child, we can't know whether she had the affair, either. I think it's possible it was just a couple of dinners, but in any case, all the suspicion and uncertainty is just a weight and a poison. I personally wouldn't ask her to apologize for that one. I'd just try to let it go.

Eventually, when she's ready to, she should apologize for each time she ran off with the kids, with an especially contrite apologize for the time when she prevented him from seeing the kids for three years. Those years can never be brought back, so it deserves a very heavy apology, and it will still take your husband a lot of emotional energy to forgive. But that apology, and that forgiveness, are probably both far down the road (and I don't know they'll ever happen but I hope they will).

Eventually, when she's ready to, she should apologize for lying about him and his character, and for constantly exploding on him for five years before she got some medication for her condition. These are things she has admitted to doing, so she should be willing to apologize for them eventually.

I agree that he will probably never trust her 100%. But the three of you can try to work together to find out what she can do to increase his trust just 1% at a time. Even if his trust level is at 0%, there must be little things she can do to raise it up to 1%. She's taking her meds, and she's treating him better; that's a start.

It's all about discovering the little things that can be done to improve the situation just a little at a time. Even if we've combed through 100 little things we're already trying, if we can tease out just one more new little thing, then our effort has not been in vain. Remember, it was a flaw one little O-ring that caused the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. You never know what easily overlooked detail could end up making all the difference in the world. So, let's keep combing through the wreckage, and try to find the one O-ring that can make the next shuttle fly. I can be very patient in this type of project, and I know that you can too. The dream is worth it.
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